Unified Development Ordinance updated for Charlotte’s future after feedback

The ordinance is part of the city’s 2040 Policy Map and will guide future development in the city.
The ordinance is part of the city’s 2040 Policy Map and will guide future development in the city.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 5:16 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte city leaders heard from residents about the Unified Development Ordinance and made some changes.

The ordinance is part of the city’s 2040 Policy Map and will guide future development in the city – everything from how tall buildings can be, to how much greenspace there is for people to enjoy.

This is the second draft of the UDO and on Tuesday the interim planning director and mayor pro tem outlined the changes.

One of the biggest changes would be removing the regulations on short-term rentals like Airbnbs. Leaders referenced recent court cases like one in Wilmington where judges found registration requirements and other regulations invalid.

Charlotte leaders are deciding to hold off a bit after the city’s attorney recommended dropping these for now.

“There were concerns that these are really important sources of income for individuals, as well as neighborhoods and residents concerned about the impact it was having on their community. So, we know this is something that is important to address. We just don’t have the legal clarity to write the regulations in a way that provides that kind of certainty,” interim planning director Alyson Craig said.

The new draft would also provide more incentives for developers to build more affordable housing, something the city desperately needs. They’re still working out the thresholds, so more specifics on those would come later this month.

Charlotte city leaders have approved a new plan to spend $12.4 million to build more affordable housing developments.

The first draft of the UDO would’ve required certain types of developments to have at least 10% of parking spaces dedicated to electric vehicles; that has now been removed. City leaders felt that would’ve added too much to the cost.

They’re still encouraging electric vehicle charging stations for new development and say a program from Duke Energy will help defray the costs.

One of the sections getting a lot of attention was parking, as there are certain parts of the city where finding a parking spot is a challenge.

Leaders reduced many of their Tier 2 parking minimums and they also made changes to those properties near transit station areas, in keeping with their goal to make the city less car-centric and more eco-friendly.

“They would be allowed to use the Tier 3 parking standards if they’re within a half-mile walk of an existing transit station area,” Craig said. “This also, I think, further bolsters that focus on really prioritizing density and reducing our focus on automobiles when there are other modes of transportation available.”

City leaders also say they plan to evaluate the elimination of parking minimums in other cities via a study currently underway by the Charlotte Department of Transportation.

The next Charlotte City Council public hearing is set for July 11 and the UDO final draft release is now set for mid-August.

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